Vampirella #9

A comic review article by: Ray Tate


Vampirella and Sofia must battle the three weird sisters from hell, the Karasu Shima, who have been crucifying sinners and feeding from their baser emotions. The final showdown occurs near an abandoned farmhouse, and as Sofia quips, "You've never even seen a horror movie, have you?"

Vampirella #9

Trautmann appears to emphasize the vampire in Vampirella. In one impressive scene, Vee uses her preternatural speed to pull Sofia along to safety. Vampirella's agility also comes into play, but unlike the other foes she faced down, the weird sisters are just as agile. 

These kinetic duels however are all just window dressing. For Trautmann, Vampirella's uniqueness serves as the theme. The Karasu Shima's arrogance proves to be their downfall. The weird sisters see humans as entrees. Vee sees humans as more than menu items. Vee and Sofia are a team. Vampirella provides the distraction. Sofia serves the coup de grace. It's something the Karasu Shima could not see coming because their blind to the idea of "steaks" fighting back.


Vampirella #9The traditional accusation of the sidekick being a weakness doesn't apply. Sofia isn't a physical burden. She's instead a psychological one that weighs on Vampirella. She needs Sofia to connect to humanity. She also hates herself for endangering Sofia on her eternal hunt. Trautmann uses Sofia not just for character chemistry with Vee, but also as a deconstructing device. While in the car traveling to meet the weird sisters, Sofia ticks off Vee's powers and asks Vampirella why she's unaffected by sunlight. 

Vampirella #9

Vee's mythology has been amended over the years. Originally, she was an alien from the planet Drakulon, and this is actually the origin I prefer. It's elegant. Vampirella doesn't explode in sunlight. Why? She's an alien. Over the years, however, Vampirella has embraced hellish, sometimes overly complicated, origins. One thing that these origins have in common is that Vampirella isn't undead. Trautmann remains mum on the subject, but he wouldn't have brought up the conundrum for just for kicks, especially since he has Fabiano Nieves highlight the question in a single panel. So, he intends to answer this query.

The Karasu Shima provide a few clues. They indicate Vampirella is "kin" and call her "Sister." You wouldn't guess that from Nieves artwork. He designs the Karasu Shima with creepy anatomy that's just a few degrees off of being human. Their backs bend a little too far. Their arms and legs twist in slightly sickening ways. Vampirella by contrast seems to be a beautiful muscular human street fighter. 

Vampirella #9

Not all of the artwork works however. Nieves bestows a shocked look to Sofia, but there's no rationale behind the expression. As a result it looks silly and takes you out of the story. I suspect there was a communication problem between writer and artist. Nieves was probably supposed to make Vampirella scary in the moment she says, "I'm not one of you, Sofia. You should keep that in mind." Instead, Vee looks too normal. I'm not suggesting he should have given her eyes a glow, but he could have imbued a predator’s gaze. That's what Vampirella is. A predator. Fortunately, she's on our side.

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.



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